Jan 232015

Today I gave notice to the marina that I will be departing in some way, shape, or form at the end of the month.  No matter what else happens, I ain’t coming up with another $720 to stay here.  I either get towed out, sail out, or walk out.  For now, it looks like towing is going to be the option.

I met with the guy who owns the mooring off Fleming and told my story of woe.  As it stands now, he is going to arrange to have the mooring moved over here to the north end of Cow Key beside his houseboat of the same name.  We will then tow my boat out, tie up, I’ll take a kayak for a dinghy, and be all set.

It all sounds good enough and if the weather cooperates it should be an easy set up.  I’ll be nervous at first until I get used to the fact that all is standing between me and being lost at sea, run aground, or becoming a navigational hazard is some 1/2″ line.  But I’ve seen bigger boats tied off with less.  It will be all good.

Now, I have to get ready for the move.  I will need two things right away before going over there.  Some sort of anchor light, which is a white light that must be displayed from the top of the mast at night when you are not underway.  Everyone I talk to goes to the local hardware emporium and picks up some of those solar powered lights and runs them up on a halyard.  The battery charges all day and the light shines all night.  Works for me.

Next I will need a tiller.  West Marine has nice ones for $125 but I am still on a budget.  Again, said emporium should provide.  All I need is a 4 foot piece of wood 1 1/2″ thick and I’m good to go.  I can add a real one later.

Once tied off things become a bit more complicated.  For one, I won’t have any power.  I can use a flashlight for cabin lights and I only need power for the iPhone and computer or iPad, whichever I decide on.  I will need to find some solar panels, a small battery or battery pack, and I will have to watch what I use out on the boat until I figger out the whole mess.  I can go into town and charge up at the occasional restaurant, coffee shop, or wherever I can sneak a plug into a wall socket.  For the moment, I will need to be careful.

With a lack of power, I won’t be needing the fridge, ac unit, and toaster oven.  I got those for sale on CL to maybe raise a few extra dollars.  I can use an ice cooler for now and later add an alcohol or propane stove for cooking.  For the time being, it will be cold watery gruel and raw stone soup.  I will be going out to eat a bit more.

The internet is the next issue.  I doubt that Comcast will reach out there and I’m really not happy with what little service I’ve been getting.  Sprint is showing some attractive hotspot devices and some decent plans including a big 30gb per month for $110.  If I have phone out there and I’m sure I will, then one of these hot spots will work.

I will need to make a decision about the computer.  I thought I would just sell it and replace it for now with an iPad.  the iPad goes longer on a battery charge and is a lot smaller, but I can’t code on it.  I’m thinking that now that I don’t have the big rent payment to contend with, I may be able to barter out some apps for things like another motor for the boat.  And maybe a real dinghy.  Replacing the computer with a new one is an expensive proposition so it may be more better to replace the battery and charger and squeeze another year out of it.

I will have my toilet on board and the county comes by every week and pumps out for free.  That’s a big savings right there although the new marina set up will be done soon and cost about $5.  I have a solar shower which I have used before and it works quite well.  I may stink a bit more than usual so just stay upwind of me and you’ll be fine.

I will need to watch water consumption.  I can come into the marina where I currently live and get ice and water.  That will come in handy.  For everything else I will need to paddle over to Cow Key and ride the bus into town.  Not a big deal.

As for laundry, I asked if I could pay to use the marina laundry but the HOA won’t allow it.  So I will need to plan ahead.  There is only one laundry on Stock Island and it’s not very nice.  I’ll have to arrange to go into town and do it there.  I’ll be needing a larger back pack for the moment.  My little canvas bag won’t cut it.  And I’ll need waterproof bags for the computer and iPhone.

It’s just now starting to dawn on me that I won’t have to defecate a big rent payment again.  And I really like that feeling a lot.  Aside from what I listed above, all I will need is food and iPhone payment.  Now I need to generate the income that I will not be spending, do what upgrades I can afford on the boat, and starting building up a reserve.

I am hoping that I only stay at this mooring for a short time, a few months or so.  I know, it’s cheap but if I’m going to live out there the city mooring field for $325 will be a slightly better deal given that you get showers and laundry on shore.  All in due time.

And if I find I really like it out there, then I will consider doing some cruising up the Keys.  Stop in here and there and just cruise around.  For some reason I don’t feel compelled to stay put.  Not being tied up literally as well as figuratively has me thinking about how easy it would be to go do some sailing around.  On the other hand, I may hate it out there.  I may not like being without some of the minor conveniences that I have now. The only way too find out is to get out there and try it.  Once I get an engine and dinghy, it opens up way more possibilities.

As it stand right now I have nothing keeping me here other than a love for Key West.  So no matter where I go, Key West will remain home port.  I’ll keep my address here, and I know I can come back at any time.  It’s kind of a nice feeling.  But for now, I need to get moved out to the mooring and get set up.  It’s going to be a busy week getting ready.  And the whole deal for the mooring could just as easily fall through.  If that happens, the boat gets sold.  If that happens it brings up a whole new set of interesting and not pleasant issues.  I will assume that I will be out on Cow Key in another week.  Stay tuned.  I’ll keep updating.

Capt. Fritter


  4 Responses to “Living Aboard: Making Progress…”

  1. Screw that high rent!

    You’re obviously very adaptable and can make this situation work for you.

    Good luck –JG

  2. Sounds like. Good plan over all – glad things are working out for you!

    Regarding food – there’s always canned stuff – beans, Vienna sausages, fresh veggies and fruit don’t have to be refrigerated either. Just keep rotating them every day and keep them in a cool, dark place….locker or bilge. Oh yeah…and don’t forget good ol pb&j’s! I know it’s not the most appetizing things, but it will save you from eating out ALL the time and you can put that money you save towards gas grill or stove savings.

    Laundry…come now Capt….get with the real minimalist life. You don’t need fancy machines to do a bit of minimalist laundry. Get a cheap bucket, add some water and a bit of detergent, work your clothes around by hand for about 3 mins and let it sit in the soapy water for about 10 mins or longer if you like. Then wring em out, dump out soapy water and add fresh water – put your clothes back in the bucket, work em around by hand and let them sit for about 10 mins or so before you wring them out. That is like your rinse cycle. Then, get you some cheap clothes line pins and hang them up around the boat deck to dry. So simple, takes minimal amount of time, and MUCH cheaper than paying for a machine to do that little bit of work for you when you could do it for free! Give a shot – it’s not bad. Especially if you don’t own a lot of heavy clothes.

    Good luck in your move – I believe this will be an exciting chapter for you and it could lead to a great ebook story (income potential)!

  3. That sounds much better than that Fleming Key field for sure. I’m glad to see you are working on all the options like lights, solar power etc and looking like this will work. One thing I use around here during storm outages is a 12v portable battery pack. Need to be charged up now & then but it could be a nice backup for you if you needed to charge the phone/ipad w/o going ashore.

    I know you are an Apple guy, but I have an old (2008) Toshiba Windows Vista laptop that I no longer use. I’ve been wondering how to get rid of it. Could that be of help to you? Free to good home, ha.

  4. You’re going to have peace and quiet out there, enjoy it. I’m sure things will fall in place for you. As for the tiller, I know the WM ones are nice and fancy, and very expensive but you can do with something like this from the orange store for 8 bucks
    oak tiller that oak wood is real strong, My .02 cents for ya. I like Julia’s idea for laundry, you might even set up a rain catching system on the boat to fill up some buckets for that.